Digging into life's garden with Katie:
Native plants are those who have adapted to a set climate over a number of years, forming a number of symbiotic relationships with their surrounding environment. These plants tend to have little trouble growing, since they are already suited to the environmental conditions around them. Insects and wildlife depend on native plants to maintain stable living conditions. These native plants stand in contrast to non-native invasive species, some of which propagate enormously due to the non-balanced traits they bring to the new environment.
Not only are native plants easy to grow in their native environments, but they’re an enormous part of indigenous culture around the world. As food systems become more commercialized, the connections formed between cultural groups and their land can easily be understood as less authentic and important, as one Lakota man laments in this article (http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/10/20/native-american-seeds).
Place-based knowledge has been shown to be of more importance in many American Indian groups in contrast to modern US culture, and plant-based life is a huge part of how people connect with the land. So, not only can the modern seed industry undermine cultural knowledge within America, but native sovereignty can be affected due to American Indians’ inability to grow essential food without relying on outside parties for help.
Native plant preservation and heirloom seeds can overlap in discussion, although they don’t refer to the exact same process. Heirloom varieties refer to plants grown from saved seeds of older plants--the children and parent plant are essentially the same crop due to open pollination. Heirloom varieties stand in contrast to hybridized commercial varieties of plants designed to have a high yield as well as to be resistant to disease and pesticides. Native plants are merely those that are and have been staples within the geologic time environment they find themselves.